Power of the Primes Dreadwind

Power of the Primes Dreadwind

Representatives of wave one of the Power of the Prime deluxes has arrived at Junkion HQ.

Dreadwind on card

The Card

Like previous lines, deluxes and above come with trading cards.

Dreadwind card

Unlike other lines, there are twelve different cards for each figure, one representing that character’s power when combined with each of the Prime Masters. My version of Dreadwind came with a card for Onyx Prime.

Dreadwind card back

The Robot

Since this is really a retool of Combiner Wars Skydive, the transformation does not feature the jet nose on the robot’s chest like the G1 version did. Besides that, this is a pretty nice looking interpretation.

Dreadwind robot mode

I can’t say that I really like how the chest armor looks on the deluxes in this line.

Dreadwind robot armor

There are two ways to mount the chest armor, locking it on with the tabs on the thumbs or using the port hidden under a door in Dreadwind’s chest.

Dreadwind robot chest port

The Jet

The jet mode is a bit more stubby than the original, but still a nice looking jet.

Dreadwind jet mode

The Hand

Each deluxe comes with a combiner hand that also doubles as chest armor.

Dreadwind BFH

Unlike Combiner Wars, the combiner hands do not really work as weapons.

Dreadwind BFH

The Powermaster

One great thing about the hand is that it can be used to replicate the G1 Powermaster feature.

Dreadwind powermaster

Prime Master Integration

While I still don’t like the chest armor, it does look a little better with a Prime Master in place of the included plug.

Dreadwind robot powered up

Dreadwind also matches well with Liege Maximo in weapon mode.

Dreadwind with Prime Master

Overlord Powermaster

As recommended by Zircor on the TFW2005 forums, the filler plugs fit into Overlord’s chest perfectly.

Overlord with Prime Master plug

Since it fits flush you can close the chest doors completely with the plug in place.

Overlord with Prime Master plug - close

Prime Masters

Prime Masters

Wave one of the Power of the Primes Prime Masters has arrived at Junkion HQ!

Prime Masters wave 1

Unlike Titan Masters, the backpack for these figures is an abstract symbol that represents each Prime.

Prime Masters transformed

I love the fact that the Prime Master’s face fills the Decoy armor helmet like a Brainmaster.

Prime Master faces

Liege Maximo

Liege Maximo

Liege Maximo comes with Skullgrin as his Decoy armor.

Liege Maximo decoy mode

The Skullgrin Decoy armor transforms into a claw arm weapon.

Liege Maximo weapon mode

Micronus

Micronus

Micronus Comes with Cloudburst as his Decoy armor.

Micronus decoy mode

The Cloudburst Decoy armor transforms into a double barrel cannon.

Micronus weapon mode

Vector Prime

Vector Prime

Vector Prime comes with Metalhawk as his Decoy armor.

Vector Prime decoy mode

The Metalhawk Decoy armor transforms into a single barrel cannon.

Vector Prime weapon mode

Metalhawk – the Reunion

Metalhawk reunited

When reunited with the Professor Go Titan Master from the Siege on Cybertron box set we now have a, nearly, complete Metalhawk (granted the inner bot now transforms into a head instead of a jet, but still).

Metalhawk confusedI feel funny

Transformers Collectors’ Club

Transformers Collectors’ Club

In the the spirit of Thanksgiving I wanted to pause and remember the Transformers Collectors’ Club.

I was a member from the start to the finish and always looked forward to the annual membership exclusive figure.

Inspiration

Tomorrow will see the final mark-down in the closing sale of the TFCC store with everything dropping to 90% off. I’ve been following the thread on TFW2005 and some of the conversations there got me thinking about how much I’ll miss the Club. I’ve made three purchases from the clearance sale so far, only two of which have arrived, and expect to make one final purchase tomorrow.

Machine Wars StarscreamPurchase #1 – Machine Wars Starscream, formerly attendees-only.

Botcon ZaptrapPurchase #2 – Diaclone Zaptrap with Spy-Eye and Beet-Chit.

While preparing this article, I took a look at my collection and realized just how many Fun Publications figures are still prominently displayed.

The Beginning

For me, it all started with Nexus Maximus and the translucent member exclusive figures that populated the first five years of the club. Here are Topspin and Breakaway from years 4 and 3 respectively.

TFCC CombinersThe other three members may be referred to as Bots-Not-Appearing-in-This-Blog.

2007

The only Botcon that I was able to attend was the 2007 convention in Providence Rhode Island and it made a lasting impact. Not only was it the perfect theme for me with it’s continuation of Classics but it was close to home and allowed me to attend the premiere of the first Transformers live-action movie. Here are Dreadwind, Thrust, Thundercracker and Bugbite from that year’s set.

Botcon 2007Still my favorite, toy-accurate, version of Thrust.

Seekers

The Classics Seeker mold is still a favorite of mine. It was also a favorite of the club; not only did we get Thundercracker and Thrust years early, we also got the More Than Meets The Eye Rainmakers (Bitstream, Hotlink and Sunstorm), G2 Ramjet and Japanese G1 catalog inspired Nacelle!

Club SeekerThere is no other official mold with as many different versions available.

G2

Generation 2 was a weird time in the franchise that not only spawned some neon repaints but also introduced modern levels of articulation. Botcon 2010 featured the Generation 2: Redux box set. Here we have Ramjet (not technically from Botcon but still G2), Rapido, Spark (rear), Streetstar and Breakdown.

Club G2

Diaclone

Botcon 2013 brought us several Diaclone figures including Lift-Ticket and Zaptrap (with Spy-Eye and Beet-Chit) and the Waruder set (not pictured).

Club Diaclone

Club Exclusives

TFCC Punch

Punch took a mold that I already loved, Sideswipe/Sunstreaker, and cleverly updated the double-robot-moded G1 spy.

TFCC Counterpunch

Side Burn from 2011 took another mold that I liked and gave it a new bluer life.

Side Burn

Subscription Service

I was very disappointed when the Reveal the Shield Demolition Rumble was cancelled and I’ve wanted to pick up the United UN-20 Rumble & Frenzy set for years but never pulled the trigger. The Club Subscription Service gave me an opportunity to finally own this mold when they released it as Rewind & Eject as part of Series 2.

TFSS Eject & Rewind

Based on an early prototype of Thrust from a G1 Japanese catalog, Nacelle gave me another opportunity to get the Botcon Thrust mold.

TFSS Nacelle

The Masterpiece

As mentioned in a previous post, one of their last exclusives (and the only Masterpiece figure that they released) was a Marvel Comics inspired repaint of the Ratbat mold, the only time this mold has been officially available in the US.

Marvel RatbatI should be in charge!

Shattered Glass

Probably the biggest thing the Club and Botcon added to Transformers lore was Shattered Glass, Transformers’ own “Mirror Mirror” evil doppelgangers. Not only was this revisited by the Club several times, there is even an official Masterpiece version of Shattered Glass Optimus Prime. Here we have heroic Decepticons Treadshot and Ravage.

Club Shattered Glass

Other Botcon Stragglers

Turbomaster (aka Scorch) and Spinister have also managed to remain on display over the years.

Scorch with Spinister

The Vitriol

Anyone who’s spent any time in any TFCC-related thread on the TFW2005 boards knows that there is a certain portion of the fandom that simply cannot help themselves but to express their deep hatred of the Club and their glee that it is no longer around. I will never be one of them. I feel that the end of the Club and Botcon is a huge loss for Transformers collectors and, I fear, we are unlikely to ever see the same breadth of obscure characters again.

TFC Toys Trinity Force Red Knight

Red Knight, the second member of TFC Toys’ Trinity Force not-Road Caesar has arrived at Junkion HQ.

Red Knight with Raging Bull

The Box

Red Knight box

Like Raging Bull, Red Knight comes in the same fantastic retro box inspired by the Road Caesar packaging.

Red Knight box contents

The box contents are much the same, except that the clear plastic parts in both the spare set of headlights and the vehicle mode tail lights come pre-installed instead of as separate pieces like with Raging Bull.

The Brain

Red Knight Brainmaster

No changes here, the Brainmaster is still absurdly small, I didn’t even try to install it and immediately installed the spare head.

The Bot

Red Knight bot mode

Since they share the same engineering, there are still parts mounted on poles that need to be awkwardly twisted and spun during transformation. However, there does seem to be some fine tuning done since the previous release. The sides of the hood now lock into place on the robot back so they don’t shift around like the ones on Raging Bull. Also, the toes have a new transformation that is far more intuitive than Raging Bull’s which have to be very precisely moved into place during transformation.

The Car

Red Knight car mode

Like Raging Bull, the car mode is pure Masterpiece with the single exception of the fact that Red Knight is #23 for some reason where Braver was #3. One word of warning; the side mirrors do not appear to lock into place and will probably require a spot of glue if you don’t want to loose them.

Red Knight with Raging Bull car mode

The Combiner

I am looking forward to the release of Wildhunter, the final member of this team, so that I can try out the full combined mode. Since, the foot components come with Wildhunter, I can’t even really try out the leg mode on these quite yet. For now, we’ll have to just live with the combined sword (BFS?).

Red Knight BFS

TFC Toys Trinity Force Raging Bull

With Red Knight on it’s way to the HQ I thought it was a good time to take a look at Raging Bull, the first member of TFC Toys’ Trinity Force not-Road Caesar.

Raging Bull with Masterpieces

The non-US G1 releases have always had a special draw for me. They have that G1 feel but also the mystery of never having been available in the toy stores of my youth.

The Box

Raging Bull box

Raging Bull comes in a fantastic retro box based on the packaging design of the original Road Caesar set.

Raging Bull box contents
The package includes the Brainmaster, half a sword, two large pistols that can be combined into a BFG, an attachment piece for the combiner, an extra set of headlights, removable windshield wiper and a spare head.

The Brain

Raging Bull Brainmaster
Although I applaud TFC for including the original Brainmaster gimmick, the execution is somewhat lacking. As you can see from the photo above, the Brainmaster is absurdly small. When installed the gimmick prevents the head from moving, much like the G1 version. I also found that it had to be very carefully aligned in the lift inside the chest or it would get stuck. The spare head does not rely on the Brainmaster and is fully articulated.

The Bot

Raging Bull bot mode

My biggest issue with this mold is the abundance of parts mounted on poles that make for an extremely fiddly transformation. They have to be twisted and spun into exactly the correct position or it doesn’t work. You get used to it after a few transformations but it just feels awkward. These posts connect the sides of the front end as well as part of his lower legs and feet.

The Car

Raging Bull car

The Lamborghini mode certainly holds its own along with the official Masterpiece line. The second set of open headlights can be inserted into the hood so, I presume, that the alt mode can be used at night. I have no plans on using these but they may come in handy for someone who wants to display this primarily in vehicle mode.

Raging Bull with Masterpiece cars

Transformers Prejudices

After coming clean about being a “Rumble is Red” guy in my last post I started thinking about my personal Transformer Prejudices. For example the reasons that, for me, Rumble is red, Thrust is the best Seeker (with wings behind his shoulders BTW) and Twin Twist is an important character is all due to the fact that I owned the toys as a kid.

A lot of the G1 arguments we have in the fandom are topics where both sides are technically correct. Of course, my side is more technically correct, but I digress.

Scale

We talk about this a lot; Masterpiece Ultra Magnus is too big (disagree), Masterpiece Grimlock is too small (conditionally agree), Power of the Primes Predaking is too big/not big enough (too early to tell). Lets be honest, there is no possible way that you can make everyone happy using a physical object to represent anything animated in the original cartoon.

TFwiki.net Hoist driving HufferScale – I don’t think that word means what you think it means (photo from TF Wiki)

With deliberate mass-shifting and abundant animation errors it’s simply impossible to represent the characters as they were shown.

Takara decided to base their post MP-10 Masterpiece scale on the following guide (photo from TF Wiki):

TFwiki.net G1 Scale Chart

This is great-ish. We have a standard scale for the robot modes that is consistent across the line. However, take Bumblebee…

Sideswipe & Bumblebee robot mode

…looks about right…

Sideswipe & Bumblebee vehicle mode

…wait, is that a child’s pedal-car model of a Volkswagon?

Personally I like the approach that Takara took since I primarily display my collection in robot mode.

Masterpiece Autobots

However, eagle-eyed readers might notice MP-8 Grimlock standing between Ultra Magnus and Optimus Prime, a clear violation of the scale chart. To compound the violation is Bullsfire DB-01 Air Strike, my Swoop stand-in which, unlike every other Masterpiece themed Swoop, is scaled to match MP-8. I did pick up FansToys’ FT-05 Soar but it is far too large to fit into my display.

Ultra Magnus

I don’t think of Ultra Magnus as a repainted Optimus Prime in armor because I didn’t get the toy until I was in college and the animation model always transformed straight from the car carrier to the bot.

Ultra Magnus with Minimus Ambus

Sure, I’ve read the Dreamwave comics where he was “revealed” as wearing armor and I’ve read the IDW comics where he was “revealed” as Minimus Ambus, just one in a long line of Ultra Magnus cosplayers, but that was long after my opinions were solidified.

Takara vs. Hasbro vs. Third Party

TakaraTomy vs Hasbro Hot Rod

There are a lot of fans that will, very emphatically, argue that one is inherently better than the others, often followed by declaring how poor those other two options “really” are. I tend to double dip into Takara for my main collection when a deco (Henkei chrome) or additional accessory (Targetmasters) warrants it then use third party versions to fill gaps, primarily on the Masterpiece side. If I have a third-party version and an official version comes out I tend to display only the official.

Takara, Fansproject, Hasbro sharing the spotlight

Masterpiece Cassettes

With MP-15E/16E Cassettebot vs. Cassettron due out by the end of the year I wanted to spend some time with the previous Masterpiece cassettes.

Cassettrons cassette mode

The cassettes have been available as part of Takara’s Masterpiece line releases; MP-13 Soundwave with Condor, MP-15 Rumble & Jaguar, MP-16 Frenzy & Buzzsaw and MP-13B Soundblaster with Ratbat. In the US Hasbro released Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, Ravage, Rumble and Frenzy with their Masterpiece Soundwave set then again with their Year of the Goat Soundwave repaint. The Transformers Collectors Club brought the Ratbat mold to the US as part of their G.I. Joe and the Transformers box set (still available as of this writing as part of their going out of business sale).

Cassettrons group

I did not pick up the original US version of Soundwave since I had already imported the Takara releases.

Let’s go through them mold by mold:

The Cats

Ravage has always been my favorite cassette – the original G1 set with Rumble were the only cassettes in my collection the first time around.

Jaguar cassette mode

Jaguar is a great mold and I love the way that they managed to integrate the rockets into the cassette.

Jaguar

The Year of the Goat release (and all of the “year of the…” releases as far as I’m concerned) is an odd duck. The clear and grey plastic is certainly distinctive but also quite “love it or hate it”.

Ghost Ravage cassette mode

I tend to think of it these as “ghost” versions.

Ghost Ravage

The Robots

The robot cassettes are the only ones that have external accessories with their separate wing blasters and pile drivers.

Robots cassette mode

Ok, let’s just get this out in the open – I’m a “Rumble is red” guy. As I mentioned above, Rumble was one of the only two cassettes that I owned as a kid so the red toy color scheme made a stronger impression on me than the blue cartoon color scheme.

Robots

The Birds

This has to be my favorite of the Masterpiece cassette molds

Birds cassette mode

Like Ravage, the designers found a way to integrate the booster backpack into the cassette mode without sacrificing the look of the figure.

Birds

The Bats

For collectors in the US, this is the most difficult to acquire of the Masterpiece cassette molds since it wasn’t included in the US version of Soundwave. (I’m aware of the KOs but am specifically referring to official releases here)

Bats cassette mode

Like the other non-robot cassettes, Ratbat’s backpack is fully integrated into the transformation. Ratbat also holds the honor of being the only Masterpiece figure released in comic book colors.

Bats

Unofficial Bonus: Autoscout

Autoscouts cassette

Many years ago two versions of the one-hit-wonder Autoscout from the G1 episode A Prime Problem were released. I still include the TFC Toys version (on the ? in the photos) from their Gears of War set in my Masterpiece display. I much prefer the transformation on this one over iGear’s version although iGear’s cassette mode has the better deco.

Autoscouts angle

Coming up…

When MP-15E/16E is released we’ll have another four members of the cassette army. I’m waiting…

LG-44 Sharkticon

LG-44 Sharkticon

Takara LegendsRecent releases from both Hasbro and TakaraTomy have been a celebration of the original animated movie, the latest example of this is LG-44 Sharkticon & Sweeps.

Sharkticon - box

Sharkticon

The Sharkticon mold is a great little ball of terror!

Sharkticon - beast

To transform; remove the mace and fold the fin back. Disconnect the top half of the beast mode, split it apart and fold it back to make the robot legs. Fold the beast head halves back to become the robot heels. Move the beast hip joints up until they snap into place to become the robot solders. Spin the beast feet around to become the robot forearms. Fold the beast lower jaw down to become the robot chest then rotate the robot head up out of the torso. Spin the head to face forward then fold up the fin against the robot back.

Sharkticon - robot

There’s something almost lovable about this rotund little bot.

Gnaw

This mold was originally released in the US as Titans Return Gnaw.

Sharkticon & Gnaw - beast

Takara’s version is mostly grey with purple and blue accents. The fin, beast arms, upper legs and mace are all molded in the same grey as the lower-half of the beast mode. The fists and robot thighs are now in purple to match the beast mode’s mouth.

Sharkticon with Gnaw

Sweeps

Sweep Headmaster - robot

I skipped LG-26 Scourge the first time around but picked one up specifically to go with Sharkticon’s Sweeps Head Master. There are no differences between the two Head Masters

Sweep Headmaster - head

Sweeps Head Master mustache goes upwards over his cheeks instead of down like Scourge’s.

Sweep with Scourge

The Swarm

I’m not usually a troop builder but something about this figure made me want a swarm.

Swarm

I might have managed with just the one if not for ToyHax and their label upgrade set. The set includes enough labels to customize three figures in their own color scheme. After seeing this, I immediately pictured Gnaw with three squad leaders each backed up with half a dozen color coordinated drones. Sadly, reality and budgetary limitations forced me to scale this back a bit. Now, with the Legends version, my swarm is a quintet – rather appropriate for servants of the Quintessons, I think.

QC Punishment

After greedily ordering three additional Gnaws Karma decided to punish me a bit. Although my first Gnaw is perfect, none of the others can keep their tails in place in beast mode. It was so bad that I even labeled each tail/mace to make sure it gets back to the figure it originally came with.

Swarm - tails

Conclusion

Despite a few loose tails I’ve really enjoyed these figures and wanted to end with a scene inspired by the movie.

Movie Scene

Poor Thundercracker

Poor Thundercracker

I recently skimmed a thread about the RID toy-line ending where Imperator was talking about still wanting Thundercracker and it got me thinking. Poor Thundercracker has often gotten shafted – most famously; the last original Seeker released in Masterpiece format and a Botcon exclusive during the Classics era. But what kept bubbling up in my mind is my collection of Legends Seekers from Cybertron/Galaxy Force.

Legends Cybertron Seekers

As you may notice in the photo above there is a distinct lack of blue and an abundance of grey. This mold was released ten times, five of those were Starscream and even Sunstorm got a retail release but no TC. I’m still half expecting a release as Acidstorm just to rub salt in the wound.

Sunstorm backed with Starscreams

Skywarp was the only other bot of the original Trio released in this mold.

Seeker trioI’ve utilized a seasonally appropriate stand-in for the missing TC here. At least, I think it’s appropriate, we were “booed” and this Wizard (I think) was part of the package.

All three coneheads were released and, due to the transformation, they can even have pseudo-coneheads.

Coneheads trio

As you may have guessed by now, I love this mold. It’s small and fun and, for me, gives us the best Cybertronian Seeker that has been released by any company. I’ve had these displayed in my (extremely dusty) shadow-box on the wall behind the computer monitors in my home office for years.

Ark Shadowbox

Another benefit to this mold is the fact that, unlike the deluxe version, it does not require a Cyber Key to deploy the weapons.

Legends Cybertron weapons

The transformation is very similar to the Deluxe and just as effective.

Legends Cybertron flyers

The Deluxe version of this mold was only re-released once as a Thrust-colored version of Starscream and the Ultra version was never repainted as a different character.

To close, my favorite Seeker Thrust, the only one I actually had back in the 80s.

Thrust

Fans Toys FT-27 Spindrift

Fans Toys FT-27 Spindrift

The Seaspray inspired masterpiece-style Spindrift from Fans Toys has arrived at Junkion HQ.

The Box

Spindrift box

The first surprise with Spindrift is that it comes in a very small box for a masterpiece-class figure.

Spindrift box contents

Along with the styrafoam insert Spindrift comes with full-color instructions, trading card, three weapons and a spare head with a more boxy design.

The Robot

Spindrift robot

One thing that is immediately obvious is that this is a post-diet version of the character. Spindrift is very thin, especially when viewed beside TR Seaspray.

Spindrift robot comparison side

Spindrift includes a pistol in the G1 cartoon generic handgun style as well as two small blasters that can mount on the forearms.

Spindrift robot armed

The Hovercraft

A word of warning, the white side pieces lock into the arms very tightly making it difficult to disconnect them when transforming back to robot mode.
Spindrift Hovercraft side
The two blasters can be mounted on the hovercraft deck with the pistol between them for a “fully armed and operational” hovercraft.

Spindrift Hovercraft side

Spindrift Hovercraft armed front

The Comparisons

Spindrift robot comparison

As mentioned earlier, Spindrift has a much flatter chest than the G1 inspiration.

Spindrift Hovercraft comparison

The hovercraft mode is shaped much like G1 Seaspray with a pointed bow.

The Conclusion

Although I like the figure, the proportions seem a bit off, with the very thin chest and the trademark oversized feet it looks extremely bottom heavy.

Spindrift robot badgeIt’s just a bot without a Badge